Responsible for 132 clients and Working during breaks - page 3

I have a question. Is there a cap or legal standard in Mississippi on how many clients RNs are responsible for working in an intermediate care facility for the intellectually disabled (11p-7a)? And... Read More

  1. by   caliotter3
    Quote from MinneNurse
    I am frequently pulled from my lunch break or don't get to take a full 30, so at the end of my shift I punch out no break (we don't punch in & out for our breaks). You are short staffed AND OT is not approved? Sounds like your facility is trying to be cheap and skimp out on staffing and you and the residents will pay the cost for that. Get out of there! Best of luck to you!
    Told a coworker successfully sued the employer for owed wages. Lo and behold that person is treated with kid gloves and I guess the rest of the employees are still paying the cost for being sheeple. Like they say, we choose how others treat us.
  2. by   Here.I.Stand
    If an hourly paid nurse is not relieved of her duties for 30 minutes, she MUST be paid for that time. Even if you're overhead paged 25 minutes into your break, it was interrupted and therefore must be paid.

    That is from the federal dept of labor. The DON doesn't have the authority to override federal law, and paying you is NOT OPTIONAL.

    I would arm yourself with the information (you can Google "nurses and the fair labor standards act") and educate your DON. It actually behooves her to be educated -- as it stands, she is in violation of FEDERAL LAW. I'm sure she doesn't want to do that to herself.

    Actually there is significant precedent for facilities being sued for back pay -- and losing or settling -- for systematically refusing to pay nurses who didn't get their meal breaks. Do the math -- no meal breaks is a LOT of money.

    So yeah... your DON really wants to abide by the law here.
  3. by   wondern
    Sometimes it's just a sad world we live in.

    What about the patients? I guess it could always be worse...but it doesn't make it okay none the less.
  4. by   Nroh
    Quote from MinneNurse
    I am frequently pulled from my lunch break or don't get to take a full 30, so at the end of my shift I punch out no break (we don't punch in & out for our breaks). You are short staffed AND OT is not approved? Sounds like your facility is trying to be cheap and skimp out on staffing and you and the residents will pay the cost for that. Get out of there! Best of luck to you!
    Thanks so much and yes they are cheap and try to cut corners. I'm glad this is something I can take further to change this "abuse".
  5. by   Nroh
    Quote from Here.I.Stand
    If an hourly paid nurse is not relieved of her duties for 30 minutes, she MUST be paid for that time. Even if you're overhead paged 25 minutes into your break, it was interrupted and therefore must be paid.

    That is from the federal dept of labor. The DON doesn't have the authority to override federal law, and paying you is NOT OPTIONAL.

    I would arm yourself with the information (you can Google "nurses and the fair labor standards act") and educate your DON. It actually behooves her to be educated -- as it stands, she is in violation of FEDERAL LAW. I'm sure she doesn't want to do that to herself.

    Actually there is significant precedent for facilities being sued for back pay -- and losing or settling -- for systematically refusing to pay nurses who didn't get their meal breaks. Do the math -- no meal breaks is a LOT of money.

    So yeah... your DON really wants to abide by the law here.
    I actually discussed this with her in our last nurses meeting and she said no you HAVE to clock out and what she used to do when she was on the floor many moons ago blah blah blah. I just kept quiet and posted this question bc I knew I was right. I most definitely will present it to her and the timekeeper. Thanks for the information.
  6. by   LadysSolo
    This happened to me before I became a nurse (was a waitress,) we were expected to clock out for breaks and at the end of our shift and then still stay to clean the place. They got hit for extreme back wages when someone turned them in, like several hundred dollars per employee.
  7. by   Kooky Korky
    Not a lawyer here but I believe requiring you to clock out but remain present and requiring you to work in any way during your unpaid break is illegal. They have to pay you if you are working or if they require you to remain available.

    Check with your state Department of Labor and also the federal Department of Labor.

    You are being used/abused, IMHO.

    Realize that you might be put on someone bad list if you object, might lose your job.

    Another consideration: if you work while clocked out, you might not be covered by Workers' Comp if you get hurt, or by malpractice insurance if anything goes wrong.

    check with a couple of attorneys.

    I don't know if there are limits to the number of patients you can be required to be responsible for.

    Best wishes to you.
  8. by   Kooky Korky
    Quote from QuietIsntAWord
    I work in a similar situation. I clock out for my break and I do leave the unit, but I can't leave the "campus". I do have CNAs on the floor and I carry a radio with me everywhere I go in case I'm needed. We also have a pager system so if a call bell goes off for longer than a set amount of time, I get a page. If I get called to an emergency while on my break, I respond and later I write up a form stating that I only took a 5 minute break or however long it actually was and I get paid for that time.

    Do you have anything like this in place? If not perhaps you could recommend it so you feel better about actually taking your break.
    You still are not really getting a break because you have to be available via radio.
  9. by   Kooky Korky
    Quote from Nroh
    No we don't have anything like that in place. I'm dealing with the situation now until I find a new job but I still wouldn't feel "ok" with that bc like someone else said, could a family member sue bc I "abandoned" my clients bc I took a break without another nurse being on duty if something tragic happened? Would my facility have my back since they only want me to clock out for legal reasons on their part? Or what if something happens on opposite ends of the hall? I can't be two places at one time. I just wondered if that was something that would hold up in court or in front of the board if i presented it to them.
    They want you clocked out not for legal reasons but for their money reason.
  10. by   Kooky Korky
    Quote from Nroh
    Thanks so much and yes they are cheap and try to cut corners. I'm glad this is something I can take further to change this "abuse".
    Is this a privately owned facility?
  11. by   Nroh
    Quote from Kooky Korky
    Is this a privately owned facility?
    Yes it's a private facility.
  12. by   Kratoswife
    Quote from Nroh
    Yes it's a private facility.


    Only speak to your DON via email! Do not! I repeat do not speak to her about this verbally!

    I smell a great lawsuit against this facility.

    Please! I repeat don't speak to her about this again verbally!! If it isn't documented it wasn't done!

    Good luck!
  13. by   LadysSolo
    I believe it could be a Federal violation also, unpaid wages would mean they have not been withholding and paying matching Social Security, and not withholding income tax and unemployment and Worker's Comp. At least that's what the restaurant got hit with (in adition to the wages, plus all the interest and penalties involved.)

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